Bad patch for African leaders
The teams at the top in both Angola and Nigeria continued to slump in a sudden loss of form, but with their challengers also stumbling, they remain at the summit. Derby days in both Kenya and Zimbabwe had the crowds enthralled, while the season in Cameroon came to a close.
Nigeria Premier League: Stagnant at the summit
It had threatened to be a two-team race for the title just weeks ago, but both Dolphin FC and Sunshine Stars have suffered a sudden slowdown. Dolphin drew at home at the weekend while Stars did not play, meaning the side from Port Harcourt went one point clear with both sides now having six games remaining. Kano Pillars had a chance to go from third to first but they lost at Gombe United.
Big game: Dolphin failed to score at home for the first time this season as Ocean Boys held them to a goalless draw at the Liberation Stadium. It means Dolphin have now won just twice in their last eight games and are seemingly off balance after a speedy start to the season.
Headline-grabbers: JUTH FC from Jos were bottom before the start of the weekend matches, but a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Zamfara United gives them a glimmer of hope in their battle to stay up. Although they remain in last place, their seventh win of the season moves them to 29 points and puts them within two wins of the rest of the bottom four, all of whom will go down at the end of the season.
Angola Girabola: Leaders lose again
Leaders Kabuscorp lost again at the weekend for their third defeat in four matches but still have a three-point lead with 12 rounds to go. Progresso Sambizanga lifted themselves away from the relegation zone with a 1-0 home win over Kabuscorp, but second-placed Petro Luanda’s goalless draw with AS Aviacao saw them gain only one point on the leaders.
Big game: The traditional military rivalry between Primeiro Agosto from Luanda and Primeiro Maio, based in Angola’s second city Benguela, is one of the ‘classicos’ of the Girabola season. Some 12,000 supporters watched at Benguela’s old Municipal Stadium as the home side took the lead through Bugos but were then left disappointed as Bena equalised just after the interval and Malawi international defender James Sangala scored the winner on the hour mark.
Headline-grabbers: With Petro having drawn 24 hours earlier, Kabuscorp could have opened up a healthy six-point lead had they beaten Progresso. Instead a lone goal from Manu, finishing off a cross from Isaac, settled the game in the 61st minute. Isaac was the creator of several other chances as Dutch coach Jan Brouwer celebrated his biggest success since taking over at the club.
Zimbabwe Premier League: Dynamos win derby day
Dynamos won the Harare derby against CAPS United but it is still new-boys FC Platinum who are in the driving seat in the title race. They won their 11th game of the season to reach 36 points but were overshadowed by the excitement around the derby at the Rufaro Stadium.
Big game: Roderick Mutuma played hero with two second-half goals as Dynamos came from behind against CAPS to stay seven points adrift of Platinum in third place. They also completed a season double over their arch-rivals after beating CAPS 1-0 near the start of the season. Mutuma clinched the winner just two minutes from time in a dramatic finish as the game lived up to the considerable pre-match hype.
Headline-grabbers: A late penalty from Menard Mupera ensured FC Platinum kept up their lead as they edged past a stubborn Kiglon. The win continued a fairytale first season in the top flight for the side coached by Rahman Gumbo, the former Zimbabwe international who returned home after winning the championship in neighbouring Botswana.
Kenya Premier League: Catch-up puts Gor in gear
A single match was scheduled at the weekend but it was a game of significance as two of the giants of the Kenyan game met in a contest previously postponed, and Gor Mahia’s success over AFC Leopards puts them within three points of leaders Tusker with a game still to catch up.
Big game: Leopards and Gor Mahia have been rivals for almost five decades, and although they no longer dominate, they still bring in the crowds. There was a capacity audience at the Nyayo National Stadium and the crowd saw Leopards hit the woodwork in the first minute and score six minutes from time. In between, Gor Mahia scored three goals to secure the win and move up to 30 points.
Headline-grabbers: Congolese-born striker Demonde Selenga just left Leopards to join Gor Mahia and wasted no time in inflicting punishment on his former club. He came on in the 60th minute and, with only his second touch, scored to put Gor two goals up. He then set up a decisive third to finish off the game as he played the ball back for Dan Makori to side-foot home.
AS Lausanne Yaounde’s hopes of winning their first match in Cameroon’s Elite One on the final day of the season were dashed by already-crowned champions Coton Sport. A 2-0 loss meant Lausanne ended the season with four draws and 22 losses in 26 games.
Red Arrows drew 0-0 at Green Eagles to maintain their lead in Zambia after their two closest rivals could not take full advantage.
Mauritius have put their championship on hold while their national team heads to the Indian Ocean Island Games in the nearby Seychelles.